1950's · 1960's · fountain pens · handwriting · nostalgia · Pens · Platigum Pens · school

Platignum Bijou Fountain Pen

vintage-platignum-gold-tone-quick-change-lever-typeOne for the ladies perhaps, this Platignum Bijou from the 1950’s. More of a mid range priced pen in the Platignum range. It is often difficult to state the age of a fountain pen and I have seen these advertised as being from the 1940’s which I rather doubt unless it was the very late 40’s. They were certainly still being sold in the 60’s and were a popular choice both for school and office. They must have been just about the smallest pen made by Platignum being slightly smaller and slimmer than even the Petite models even if only very slightly smaller. They are a lever filling pen with the black butyl rubber ink sac and have a very small gold plated nib. The same nib was fitted to the Petite and Club pens of the same period and were not fitted with the quick change nibs like the later Petite pens from the late 50’s and 60’s. The brown marble effect barrels seem to be most common but they were also available in blue, green and pink marble as well as plain colours. The Bijou seems to have disappeared after this model unlike its stable-mate the Petite. The Bijou was often sold as a writing set with matching propelling pencil. There was also matching full size pen, often sold as the golden fountain pen with the advertising line of “as good as gold”. Apart from having a gold coloured cap, the only real gold was the plating on the nib.

dscf1939-cr-platignum-bijou-c-1950s

Performance

This particular pen was in excellent condition, surprising, considering how old it was. I always prefer screw on caps which the Bijou has as I never trust a push on one. It really is not a good idea to post the cap on the barrel as in the photograph above as the clear plastic end to the cap can easily crack. In spite of its small size it holds a fair amount of ink, enough for me to last a week of normal daily use. It may have a clip on the cap so you can keep it upright in say, a jacket pocket but most pens like this would more likely be kept in a handbag. A lot of fountain pens do not like being left laying down let alone being jostled around in a bag. They tend to leak ink everywhere and soon as you go to use it cover the writer in ink too. Not so with the Bijou, it really behaved itself. My daughter carried it around in a school bag for days at a time and it never leaked. It also started to write straight away, so no annoying trying to get it to write because it had dried out. The nib is marked as medium. I don’t know if any other nibs were available as although Platignum offered quick change nibs, they do not fit the Bijou. If you have never used a fountain pen made in the 50’s you may be surprised that the medium nib seems to write with more of a fine line, most pens of the time did. It does not indicate that the nib comb is blocked with old dried out ink, it is just the way they write. This example was flushed before use but writes just the same as a new old stock Club model I have of the same period which has the same nib but not gold plated. This is also the same nib as the early 50’s Petite. The steel nib is not at all flexible so a fine rather than a medium line is all you are going to get. There is no way you are going to write Pitman’s shorthand with it. It does write very smoothly though and for most it is all the pen you are going to need. I did think that with such a small pen I would get tired writing anything but a short letter but actually I got on rather well with it.

Conclusions

All in all I found it to be a very nice and rather cute little pen. It writes well and performs well enough. It is, perhaps, a rather poor pen when compared with the 1930’s upmarket Bijou but that was just a short stubby pen and this is rather more elegant than its predecessor. As far as I know this was the last of the Bijou models, only the similar sized Petite was to survive into the sixties and probably beyond.This is hardly the sort of pen I would choose but I never the less for those with smaller hands it is ideal and rather unique too compared with the sort of new pens offered today. A very nice piece of 1950’s memorabilia which writes very nicely.

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